Bastei Bridge by Thomas Wolf

The Final Transition-WEP June Challenge

The Final Transition Ceremony was planned for the first full moon of August. This was the law of the New Order. Anyone above the age of 55 was considered a detriment to society. It was thought The Olders no longer had anything to contribute and we unable to adapt to the new ways. The Olders gathered at the stadium that led to The Great Bridge. Those who crossed it were never seen in this world again. Sarah found herself thinking how quickly her time had passed. She was an artist and had created many unique pieces of sculpture. It was her 55th birthday and she was in her studio when the patrol came to get her.

“It is your time, they said, you must come with us.”

The Olders walked silently down the road that led to the bridge. They appeared resigned to their fate. Sarah walked with them but her feelings were not of resignation. What was the matter? She knew her transition time had come and what was expected of her. As she continued on silently she also knew she was not ready. As the group walked on she slipped out of line and down a small gully at the side of the road. She quickly hid behind a large boulder waiting for the procession to pass. She remained there, afraid to move for what must have been hours, until she drifted off into an exhausted sleep. When she woke up she realized she had to get moving or risk capture. She saw a small trail that wound up into the mountain and felt compelled to follow it, not sure where she was going but knowing she was running away from the end that was planned for her.

Sarah climbed higher and higher along the narrow winding mountain path. She was grateful for the full moon’s light that kept her from stumbling over rocks or veering too close to the edge.  When she glanced over the side, she saw the steep mountain side dropping away into darkness. Looking down made her light-headed and her legs wobble a bit, so she kept her eyes trained on the path ahead. She did not know how long she had been walking when it started to get light.

The trail forked, with a smaller branch curving off to the left into a craggy opening. She decided to explore it to see where it led. She needed to find a place to hide and rest. The opening led into a  passage. She could hear water running somewhere. As she walked toward the sound it became louder. The passage opened behind a wall of water. Sarah stepped through and found a small path along a ledge behind the falls. She picked her way carefully along the slippery ground until she came to a wide outcropping. The falls thundered down into a river gorge that ran under a bridge.

Multnomah_Falls_Bridge by Jake DeGroot

“No, it can’t be….. The Great Bridge?” Sarah said, her spirits falling rapidly like the water. Did I come all this way for nothing?, she thought to herself.

Sarah realized she could not remain where she was and she couldn’t go back either. So she climbed down the path at the side of the falls. She froze when she saw some people approaching. 

A woman approached first and spoke, “Don’t be afraid, you are not in any danger here.”

“I don’t believe you. I can see The Great Bridge,” Sarah spoke with voice rising.

“You are mistaken. We are helping The Olders to escape to our world.”

Sarah, feeling her apprehension growing, said, “What did you say? Escape to your world? Where do you come from and why do you want to help The Olders?”

“We come from another galaxy but our planet is similar to yours. Some of our ancient explorers discovered Earth.”

“Another galaxy, ancient explorers….,” Sarah mumbled not understanding.

“Let me explain,” replied the woman.

“We discovered your planet when life was just beginning and planted our seeds, our genetic material. We have continued to visit over the years to watch your development. Our societies have shared a similar value. We valued youth over age. Several years ago we were conducting experiments on prolonging youth. We developed an anti-aging vaccine. We thought it was successful until it went terribly wrong. It altered our genome so that our people die in early adulthood. When we lost our ability to age our culture lost its perspective and wisdom. We have learned that true wisdom is only gained with life experience. We share a genetic ancestry with you and hope we can repair our genome with part of yours. The Olders can contribute greatly to our society.”

As Sarah listened she found herself questioning the motives of the strangers. “You would not need to relocate all of the Olders to obtain their genome,”she said.

“The Olders would help persuade our people that we need to repair our genome so we can age. They would bring a living example of the gifts of ageing to our people and the perspective that is missing from our society. They could mentor our youth who have lost their parents and never experienced the benefit of grandparents,” the woman replied.

Sarah noticed a beam of light coming down behind the strangers. “What is that golden light?” she said.

“What you see is the gateway between our galaxies,” the woman replied.

Sarah was startled awake by the knocking on her front door. She must have fallen asleep in her studio. What a strange dream, she mumbled to herself as she opened the door.

“Your time has come,” the patrolman said. They escorted Sarah to the bus that would transport her and other Olders to the stadium for The Final Transition.

The Olders walked silently down the road to The Great Bridge. “I can see a bright light ahead, ” a woman shouted. ” It is the end of us, ” another woman cried out. Sarah smiled and said, “No, it is just the beginning.”


Featured image ‘Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland by Thomas Wolf on Wikimedia. Image ‘Multnomah Falls’ by Jake DeGroot on Wikimedia.

Word count: 998

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37 thoughts on “The Final Transition-WEP June Challenge

      1. Dan Antion

        It was a nice hike. The top of a waterfall, like the headwater of a river, is much less majestic than the bottom, but it was fun to see. Afterwards, we had dinner in the lodge at the bottom. A very nice day.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. patgarcia

    Hi,
    It’s amazing how we put limits on ourselves because of our age. And then of course, there is the generation gap thesis that has brought disharmony and discrimination that make it impossible for people of all ages to learn from one another.
    These are thoughts that ran through my mind as I read your story.
    Good job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Yolanda Renee

    Youth is wasted on the young, hubby and I were both bemoaning that fact this weekend. 🙂 Discussing the possibilities, the what if’s – for instance if we could go back and keep the wisdom of age, hubby thought a better story would be that the moment we chose a different path than the one that got us to this point, the wisdom would disappear and the newer journey would start. Interesting concept. I told him to write it…
    The end is always a beginning! Well done!

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    Reply
    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Even though many young people are interested in and respectful of older people, it does seem that it takes the actual experience of getting older to get perspective and wisdom about our lives. Yes, we have to live through it. Thank you very much, Yolanda R. ❤

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  3. Michael Di Gesu

    Hi, Deborah,

    A wonderfully descriptive piece. IT reminded me a bit of LOGAN’S RUN, only in this version 30 was the cut off point. Scary thought. Life really doesn’t begin until you are in your 30’s. Beautiful ending to a well written story. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      There have been a few very good stories where the age for the end of life is chosen by the society. I was thinking about what age to choose for mine and picked 55 because, in the US, it seems that is around the age where people are starting to get pushed out of their jobs. But I also wanted it to grab people a bit in thinking that’s a bit young, to think about why do we label people old in a negative way. And why is old bad. Thank you very much Michael. 🙂

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  4. dolorah

    Nicely written. When I was young I thought I never wanted to live to be 50. I’m 54 now and can’t imagine quitting my job. I don’t feel useless. Funny how age and experience change your perspective 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Our perspective does change as we get older. We realize that age or older is not such a negative thing. Our lives have value no matter what age we are. Thank you Dolorah. 🙂

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  5. Denise Covey

    Hi Deborah. Loved the premise of your story. I’ve written a similar flash myself. It’s a natural progression for a society focussed on youth. But wisdom usually only comes with wrinkles and short-sightedness! A hopeful ending.
    Thank you for sharing this for the WEP challenge!

    Denise 🙂

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    Reply
    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Thank you Denise. ❤ I have been writing on this theme on and off, ageism. People are living much longer and we need an awareness of how wrong it is to waste all the potential of older people and to devalue them based on age. Glad I participated in this WEP challenge.

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  6. hilarymb

    Hi Deborah – age … gosh if we all ‘left’ at 55 – for some it would be awful, others it’d be a blessing – life has got the better of them. It’s fascinating how some adapt and some just can’t seem to move on and realise new opportunities … transitioning though is another story! Love the way you take us round from the journey to the bridge, to the waterfall over which the bridge takes us … certainly can see it …and her escape -only to be caught up – then the dream and wakening … and realising it has yet to happen … it is her beginning, as many of us are experiencing … cheers Hilary

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      I was trying to catch people’s attention with the my choice of age 55. But it is related to reality in that as people enter their fifties and definitely sixties they find themselves disappeared from work and society. It is new that many people are living much longer than the traditional retirement age and are often healthy, mentally and physically. So it is like being cut off from life. Then people have to discover how to bridge this transition and continue living in a way that they find rewarding. At the same time, they are being devalued by the stereotypes of their own society. We are told getting old is bad/very undesirable and older people are not capable of much. It’s a wonder more of us don’t jump off the bridge. We Olders are the pathfinders and trailblazers in this new age of ageing. I hope our stories will light the way for those who follow.

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  7. Pat Hatt

    If Earth went all get rid of you at 55 we’d be royally screwed, Very thought provoking piece indeed, as many sure do look down on the elderly and not just the young, the elderly do it to themselves and each other too.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      The negative stereotypes about ageing start being absorbed when we are children and by the time we are the elderly we have internalized all of these negative beliefs and turn them on ourselves. We have got to turn this around because it does impact our lives as we all get older.

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  8. Pingback: So Honored | Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

  9. patgarcia

    Congratulations, Deborah, on winning the WEP Bridges Challenge. It was indeed a wonderful challenge and there were so many excellent submissions. All the best to you. Keep writing, Lady.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

    Liked by 1 person

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